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How to use social media to your advantage this Black Friday

November 19, 2013
Black Friday, Shopping
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Social media is the savvy shopper’s best friend throughout the year but especially on Black Friday. There are only so many stores you can visit, quite simply. Social media can save you time and money in your search but more than that, the stores themselves are well aware that social media usage, mobile usage, and consumer online research increases in November and December. Use social media to your advantage and start now by marking sure you are following the right brands, know the right hashtags, and have the right apps on your phone.

Be a Facebook Fan and Twitter Follower

Get prepared for Black Friday shopping by following the right stores and brands on social media for your personal shopping tastes. Take a few minutes to make sure you’re a fan of your favorite brands and stores on Facebook and that you’re following them on Twitter. Many stores offer exclusives to their social media fans. Some good basics to follow are: Target, Amazon, Macy’s, and Best Buy.  Don’t overlook stores on Pinterest either. While not all stores use the network, Macy’s, for instance gives their Pinterest followers sneak peeks at Black Friday shopping.

If you use social media primarily for keeping in contact with friends and family and don’t want the sales to clutter up your feed, you can set up Twitter lists for shopping so you’re not actually following those feeds, or take advantage of the Facebook page feed grouping.

Use Hashtags

Now that you’ve made sure you’re following all the stores and brands, make note of hashtags to use before and during Black Friday. Hashtags are primarily for Twitter, though some stores and brands are also using them on Facebook. Basically the hashtag lets you search through other people’s tweets about a specific topic or even item. So “#blackfriday” and “#deals” will give you updates on people’s tweets about Black Friday, while “#iPad” will help you find deals on iPads. As with anything, though, remember to consider the source and back up any news about iPad discounts by checking in multiple places.

Install Apps

You can have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest—on your phone! Get the apps installed if you haven’t already—it will take a minute—and if you have, double-check that the apps are updated. While browsing on your phone, you may even find items only available through mobile e-commerce, as stores have started doing in past years. If you use fourSquare or always wanted to start, Black Friday is the time. Many stores will give specials to users that “check” their store.

Of course, checking in at stores means you’ll be braving the hordes of people at the mall on Black Friday.  To survive the rush, there are a multitude of apps specific for Black Friday including the aptly named “Black Friday Survival Guide” that lets users browse ads and create shopping lists as well as the “Black Friday 2013” that gives promo codes. ABC News and Business Insider have lists of the best apps and a simple search in the app store will also let you read user reviews.

Final Note

Following the right stores and brands for your shopping needs, searching the popular hashtags, and using a few smartphone apps should make your Black Friday quite hassle-free. Now, all you have to do is figure out what to do with all that extra time and money social media saved you.